French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian stated Monday that France was in no possession of recordings related to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as far as he was aware, with the remarks provoking utmost fury in Ankara.
The Turkish side has branded French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s statement on the Khashoggi tapes inadmissible.
“We find it unacceptable that he accused President Erdogan of ‘playing political games’,” communications director at the Turkish presidency Fahrettin Altun told AFP.
“Let us not forget that this case would have been already covered up had it not been for Turkey’s determined efforts,” Altun stressed adding that the comments do not “reflect the facts.”
France ‘No Exception’
He noted Ankara shared evidence linked to the murder with officials from a large number of countries and that France was “no exception”.
Commenting on the development, a representative of French intelligence was cited by AFP as saying that “it is up to the French authorities — not Turkey — to take care of” possible “miscommunication between the French government’s various agencies,” if any.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian stated Monday in an interview on France 2 that France did not possess any recordings related to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as far as he was aware, thereby contradicting the Turkish side’s statements. Le Drian went on to say that the Turkish head of state appears to “have a political game to play in these circumstances.”
Canadian PM ‘Fully Briefed Up’ on Turkish Tapes
In the meantime, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared to be the first Western head of state to publicly acknowledge his country had indeed received the recordings in question, after Erdogan announced handing them over to the Western states during the weekend.
“Canada has been fully briefed up on what Turkey had to share,” Trudeau told journalists from the Canadian Embassy in Paris, where he was attending the Peace Forum following the anniversary Rememrance Day events held over the weekend in the French capital.
The Saudi journalist disappeared on 2 October after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to straighten out documents he needed for a new marriage.
After weeks of reports that he could have been killed inside the building and searches of the consulate by Turkish police, the Saudi prosecutor-general confirmed his death in an altercation involving a number of people who met him in the consulate premises. For the time being, 18 suspects have been arrested in line with the ongoing probe.
Riyadh has repeatedly denied the royal family’s involvement in the case, stressing that the crown prince was unaware of the “plot” and labelled Khashoggi’s killing a “rogue operation,” while proposing a joint investigation with the Turkish authorities.